Why Twitter needs to change or it will suffer a slow death
I love Twitter, I have been using the platform for over 8.5years and in that time it has provided with so much business opportunities. For that I am hugely grateful. Twitter started off life in Mid 2006. I joined in April 2008 and like so many had no clue or idea as to why anyone would want to know I was having a cup of tea. To this day, I really don’t think that to the mass market that view has changed. For 3-4 years Twitter went through massive growth, the numbers were off the chart and we were met with the fail whale every day as Twitter scaled up their operations. It was a fun time, a great time an exciting time.
In Jan 2009. I can remember the Hudson Plane Crash Here is a report by the Telegraph newspaper with the headline – New York plane crash: Twitter breaks the news, again..From nowhere Twitter had become literally overnight the go to place for breaking news. Over the years many other stories have broken via Twitter.
Twitter for many people, brands and businesses had also become a huge global cocktail party and everyone was invited. The rules were sort of clear. Add value to the conversation and to other people and you would be welcomed and accepted into the party. Where else at that time could you go and listen to other conversations? The other huge thing was Twitter’s own search engine. Again to this day the masses are still not aware of this and frankly this is the goldmine of Twitter. The place to go to find conversations about you and where you can find an endless stream of business leads and opportunities, for free and 24/7
Twitter at that time was incredible. You could send out tweets and get a huge number of clicks to your site as well as retweets. It was incredible the amount of time and eyeballs you could get to view your content, share your content was amazing. Play the right game and the audience were sitting there waiting for you. In fact you could argue that the retweet button by Twitter was an amazing idea to help you get your message out there. What better way than for your peers and audience to share the information and spread the love.
The biggest thing though for me and so many others was when they fully understood that the key main benefit of Twitter was its 2 way street. The idea that you could actively listen, ask for and gain ideas, feedback, opinions and huge insight into your audience. You could get to know so much about your audience, what they loved and floated their boats. This was marketing gold dust. Yet to this day so few realise and use that.
What Changed? What Happened?
Twitter became too noisy. People for 2-3 years now have been tuning out, the constant idea that you need to be pumping out tons and tons of content, has ruined the platform for the masses. Its become a non stop barrage of duplicated images, quotes, quotes with images as the masses try and get heard and seen in the battle of the eyeballs. People were obsessed with following huge number of others, not for their content, but so that they would be followed back. This then resulted in them having a Twitter stream that is effectively worthless as its full of an endless stream of buy my stuff, duplicated content, dull and valueless content. Too much content & following too many people has in part ruined Twitter for the masses. Its too noisy and not enough filters to get to the good useful content.
People have simply been broadcasting content for far far too long without much or any consideration for listening and engaging. I have been advising clients for ages that its not a content strategy you need, its an engagement strategy. Its also become a place for far far too much abuse and trolling from people. Every day people can read about celebrities and others that are leaving the platform due to the amount of abuse they have received. Twitter was not like that when I joined 8years ago. It has changed and changed for the worse. Twitter seriously need to wake up to dealing with this issue and fast.
Over the years, I have always said that the whole on-boarding process with Twitter is cumbersome and leaves the masses with a feeling of “What Do I Do Now? You are pretty much left to your own devices to discover anything on Twitter. Literally seeing a new button is they way you discover something new has been added. Twitter have a real communication issue. They are supposed to be a communication company yet they are very very poor. They need to address this. They need to find new ways, simple ways, easy ways to get people to join Twitter and then walk them through ideas, options, and explain much better whats under the Twitter Bonnet for them & their business.
I would guess but doubt I am wrong that for the masses, most will have never have heard of the analytics Twitter dashboard, ways to advertise on Twitter, and many of the other features perfect to enhance customer and care and so on. Twitter need to find better ways to educate the masses on these features which are great but grossly underused and utilised. Twitter is so perfect for finding leads and opportunities, for finding locals to you, for finding others to chat to, debate with, to find others to sell to as well. Yes, Twitter is fantastic for all of these things, yet the masses still believe its just for celebs and breaking news. That’s why so many small business have left. They have formed the wrong opinion, feel its not for them and moved on. Its small businesses that Twitter need to focus on as they are the backbone of Twitter.
Twitter still has circa 300 million active users each month. It still has the ability for people to develop fantastic business relationships, its incredible for customer care and service, its the best listening tool out there, its targeted search is fantastic, Its the best for gaining real insight from your audience, getting feedback on ideas and helping and supporting others. Twitter needs to address the noise issue with far far better ways of filtering out all the nonsense. It needs to deal with the abuse and trolling as a matter of urgency. Too many daily articles about people leaving due to harassment. It needs to explain and help new users with how to use Twitter and whats under the bonnet to help them.
I still love Twitter. In fact I am all in on Twitter. I have deleted all my other social media channels. I truly want and believe Twitter can and should be better. It will need strong leadership, new ideas, and perhaps a new style that some are uncomfortable with. But this I can say. When the audience all leave, the brands and celebs will go as well, as there is no audience for them. Then it will be too late. Twitter need to change gear, focus on small businesses and the ideas I have outlined. I sincerely hope Twitter are listening.